BMI today announced the highest revenues in its 76-year history, achieving $1.060 billion for its fiscal year ended June 30. The Company also distributed and administered a record-breaking $931 million to its songwriters, composers and publishers, a 6% increase over last year. These results represent the most public performance revenue and royalty distributions by any music rights organization in the world.

BMI operates on a non-profit-making basis and returns approximately 88% of all revenue to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.

“We are beyond pleased with this milestone,” said Mike O’Neill, President and CEO, BMI. “The ability to provide our songwriters, composers and publishers with our largest royalty distributions to date proves that the current marketplace is working efficiently, a fact the DOJ has undermined with its recent interpretation of our consent decree. We’re eager to build on this success and continue to ensure that all of our music creators are fairly paid for their work and that licensees maintain full access to BMI’s repertoire of nearly 12 million songs. As of now, the DOJ’s interpretation will disrupt these efforts, stifle creative freedom for songwriters, limit choices for music users and bog down the marketplace. We are determined not to let that happen.”

BMI’s total domestic revenue performance of $784 million was bolstered by record-breaking results in its digital and general licensing categories. Digital revenue, which exceeded $100 million for the first time last year, hit a new high of $152 million, up 50%. Numerous new agreements were signed throughout the year, notably a multi-year license with Pandora, as well as deals with Spotify, Apple Music, Microsoft, Sony’s PlayStation Video and Slacker, among others.

General Licensing, which includes fees from businesses like restaurants, bars, hotels and fitness facilities, along with other income, hit a new milestone of $140 million. The category added 15,000 new businesses to the hundreds of thousands already in BMI’s diverse portfolio.

Revenue from all media licensing, including radio, television and cable and satellite entertainment, grew to $492 million, with cable and satellite entertainment accounting for the largest portion of BMI’s domestic revenue for the third consecutive year. International revenues came in at a strong $276 million, despite significant economic challenges overseas resulting in lower foreign exchange rates. While down 5% year to year in U.S. dollars, BMI’s international revenues would have exceeded last year’s performance by $14 million had it not been for the strengthening dollar.

BMI processed more than one trillion audio performances this year, over 950 billion of which were digital, a 45% increase from last year.

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I received an email this morning from a reader. He asked, “If SoundExchange was designated by the Library of Congress as the sole PRO to administer public performance licenses and also collect public performances fees for Sound Recording Company Owners, then why do artists still utilize the services provided by the other 3 US PROs (ASCAP / BMI) – is [SoundExchange] not sufficient by itself?”

A lot of indie artists are confused about the difference between ASCAP, BMI and SoundExchange. I’ll attempt to break down the most important differences between these groups and elaborate towards the end about other considerations and other royalty collection entities. Feel free to comment with any questions (or corrections).

Traditional performance royalties vs. digital performance royalties
ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) are US public performance organizations (PROs) who collect publishing royalties (performance royalties) for the PUBLIC PERFORMANCE of musical works as stipulated by the U.S. Copyright Act. This includes fees paid by radio stations, businesses, restaurants, concert venues, bars, nightclubs, sports arenas, bowling alleys, malls and shopping centers, amusement parks, colleges & universities, etc. for performing music in the public (within the confines of their establishment). These monies are paid to ASCAP, BMI for a blanket public performance license that grants the licensee (the business) permission to allow music to be performed in their environment (this includes music over speakers and music performed live by an artist). The license fees paid to ASCAP and BMI  are passed on to the copyright owners in the musical works (song) — PUBLISHERS (50%) and SONGWRITERS (50%) — as performance royalties for musical works.

BMI_Logo_6.18.14

[Editor’s note: ASCAP considers the publisher’s share and songwriter’s share to each be 50% of total performance royalties. BMI talks about these same splits as 100% for the publisher and 100% for the songwriter. It gets a little confusing, but they’re essentially talking about the same money split up in exactly the same way. It’s just that ASCAP uses percentages that are based on total performance royalties (thus 50/50), while BMI splits those halves FIRST, and then distributes 100% of each half to the appropriate entities.]

SoundExchange is a US public performance organization (PRO) who collects royalties for DIGITAL PUBLIC PERFORMANCE of sound recordings stipulated by the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recording Act of 1995 and Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.

[Editor’s note: SoundExchange only collects these digital performance royalties for NON-interactive streaming (the kind where a DJ, algorithm, or other outside force is determining exactly what you hear).]

This includes fees paid by music service providers (MSPs) to stream music over satellite (SiriusXM), internet (Pandora, Rhapsody), cable (Music Choice, Verve) and other digital means as stipulated by law.

[Editor’s note: Spotify, iTunes Radio, and Rdio have struck deals with labels and distributors to pay digital performance royalties directly to rights holders — thus bypassing SoundExchange. But again, digital performance royalties are only owed for non-interactive streams which occur within those services’ radio-like features, NOT in their on-demand capacities.

These fees are paid to SoundExchange for a digital statutory license, under sections 112 and 114 of the Copyright Act, to stream sound recordings. The license fees paid to SoundExchange are passed on to copyright owners in the sound recording (master) — RECORD LABEL (50%), FEATURED ARTIST (45%), and NON-FEATURED ARTISTS (i.e. background vocalist, session musicians, etc.) (5%) — as digital statutory royalties for sound recordings.

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Things to know…
* With some exceptions (mostly political) ARTISTS do not receive performance royalties in musical works (ASCAP/BMI) unless they wrote the song. So, Rihanna does not earn performance royalties in musical works when she performs “Stay” or when you listen to it on the radio or in a coffee house.

* With some exceptions (mostly political) SONGWRITERS do not receive digital statutory royalties in sound recordings (SoundExchange) unless they also recorded the song with their vocals. So, Diane Warren does not earn digital statutory royalties in sound recordings when you hear any of the songs she wrote for Whitney Houston, Enrique Iglesias, Faith Hill (and the list goes on) on Pandora or iTunes Radio. [Update: However, Diane Warren does earn public performance royalties in the musical works (ASCAP/BMI/SESAC) for these transmissions (Thanks Professor Surmani of the Masters of Artists in Music Industry Administration program at CSUN for catching this misleading omission!).]

* Pandora, Rdio, iTunes Radio, Spotitfy, etc. must pay both ASCAP, BMI public performance fees for musical works AND digital performance fees for sound recordings.

[Editor’s note: Though, as stated earlier, Spotify, Rdio, and iTunes Radio bypass SoundExchange to pay digital performance royalties directly to labels and distributors on behalf of rights holders.]

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Terrestrial radio stations, such as KISS FM, only have to pay ASCAP, BMI, SESAC public performance fees for musical works, but not SoundExchange digital performance fees for sound recordings because of special stipulations in the US Copyright Act for broadcast radio. This is part of the reason why Pandora wants to reduce the royalties it pays.

[Editor’s note: However, many terrestrial radio stations also have digital broadcasts or offer alternative playlists on a counterpart digital station. Those stations DO have to pay digital performance royalties to SoundExchange for those non-interactive streams.]

There are lots of other sound recording royalties (besides the digital royalties collected by SoundExchange) that are collected on behalf of featured recording artists, non-featured artists (ie. background or session vocalists), instrumental musicians, etc. They include:

* sound recording revenue (also known as DART royalties, which stands for Digital Audio Recorders and Tapes) generated from the U.S. Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA). Manufactures and importers of audio home recording devices (such as tape recorders) and audio home recording media (such as black CDs) pay a royalty to the Copyright Office;

* sound recording revenue generated from reciprocal Private Copy agreements with numerous foreign collectives in countries that also have legislation providing these royalties such as: Japan, the Netherlands, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany, Latvia, and Estonia, just to name a few;

* sound recording revenue from record rentals remuneration from Japan, where sound recordings are rented in much the same manner DVDs are rented here in the U.S.;

* sound recording revenue generated digital public performance from the Digital Performance Right in Sound Recordings Act of 1995 (DPRA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) paid to SoundExchange (as discussed above);

* sound recording revenue generated from a treaty with AIE, Sociedad de Gestión – the Spanish Rights Collective. The Audiovisual Division of the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund (established in 2010) distributes payments collected from any television show or motion picture that is broadcast on Spanish television and contains the performance of an AFM or SAG-AFTRA vocalist;

* sound recording revenue collected by the Symphonic Royalties division of the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, which are royalties for performers on Symphonic sound recordings, including musicians and singers of an orchestra.

* sound recording revenue from master use licenses between record companies and film/TV production companies (TV shows, movies, and web series), advertisers (commercials and products), video games; and

* sound recording revenue from compulsory mechanical licenses for sample use in other songs, copies and re-distribution, and ringtones.

There are lots of other musical works royalties (besides the public performance royalties collected by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC) that are collected on behalf of songwriters, music producers and publishers:

* publishing revenue from synchronization rights of music to film/TV, video games, or commercial. (Collected by publisher);

* publishing revenue from lyric print rights used in music apps, books and magazines, apparel, websites (like the lyric websites), or sheet music (such as MusicNotes.com. (Collected by publisher);

* publishing revenue from compulsory mechanical licenses for record labels or indie artists to record and distribute music works (such as going a song placed with a major artist or an indie artist doing a cover of a song previously performed by a major artist) whether posted on YouTube or sold on a CD. (Collected by Harry Fox Agency);

* publishing revenue from DART royalties from Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 distributed to the Music Publishers Subfund and Writers Subfund (collected by Copyright Office);

* publishing revenue from public performance via ASCAP, BMI (Note: A songwriter can only be registered to one of these guys);

* publishing revenue from foreign monies via sub-publishing agreements and other licensing arrangements in foreign territories. (Collected by PROs, publishers and other collecting entities depending on the nature of the royalties and legislation);

* publishing revenue from hundreds of other licensing sources (collected by PROs, publishers and other collecting entities depending on the nature of the royalties and territory)

In today’s music business, a musician needs to understand and receive all the various streams of revenue that they are entitled to for their musical works. However, many of today’s artists are uninformed as to what royalties they are entitled to; and, even more musicians are not properly registered nor have their works indexed. This prevents the artist from receiving all the income earned for their creative works. One of these most important streams of income that many musicians fail to recognize or handle properly  are the revenues collected by SoundExchange.

Sound Exchange is a performance rights organization authorized to collect royalties for the digital performance of sound recordings under Section 114 of the U.S. Copyright Act. The right to these funds was originally established with the passage of the Digital Performance in Sound Recording Act of 1995 and later expanded by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Originally, SoundExchange was created by the Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) to handle these new revenues; however, Sound Exchange eventually became its own stand-alone entity representing the interests of over one hundred thousand artists and copyright owners. As of August 5, 2015, Sound Exchange has reportedly paid over $3 billion directly to its artist and label members (http://www.soundexchange.com/pr/soundexchange-breaks-the-3-billion-mark/).

Unlike the other performance rights organizations in the United States that collect royalties for the public performance of musical compositions (i.e., ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC); Sound Exchange is the only entity authorized to collect royalties for the digital performance of a sound recording. Sound Exchange derives its authority, pricing and guidelines from the Copyright Royalty Board, which is appointed by the U.S. Library of Congress. SoundExchange is run by a board of directors that includes nine artist representatives and nine label representatives. This structure gives artists an equal say in the running of the organization.

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SoundExchange is authorized to collect digital performance royalties on behalf of the owners of the sound recording copyright (i.e., the actual recording of a performance of the musical composition, which is referred to as the “master recording”). Typically, the sound recording copyright is transferred to the record label as a part of the recording contract with the musician. However, there has been an increase in sound recording ownership by the artists themselves as record labels are extending far fewer recording contracts than they had done in the past. This fact is further evidenced by the large number of musicians who are involved in “Do-It-Yourself” music promotion and distribution without any traditional record label assistance.

Additionally, it is essential to understand the difference in the types of revenues collected by SoundExchange and those collected by “small” Performing Rights Organizations, such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the United States. Performing Rights Organizations collect “small” public performance royalties for the owners of copyrighted musical composition (the underlying musical composition). These public performance royalties are paid to the music publishers, songwriters and composers of the song. For example, when Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along The Watchtower” is played over an analog radio station, the songwriter, Bob Dylan (in addition to the song’s publisher) receive royalties from the appropriate Performing Rights Organization as the original composer of the song. In contrast, Sony Music, as the sound recording owner, and Jimi Hendrix, as the featured artist, would receive royalties from SoundExchange for the song’s recordings’ transmission over a non-interactive digital platform, for example, when the song is played on Pandora. Accordingly, companies and artists can collect royalties from both sources (i.e., one royalty for the musical composition copyright and another for the sound recording copyright) as these organizations work with each other to pay musical creators the royalties they have earned from these distinct streams of income.

Under Section 114 of the American Copyright Act, SoundExchange is only authorized to issue statutory licenses for non-interactive digital platforms. These include satellite radio stations (e.g., SiriusXM Radio), internet radio stations (e.g., iHeartRadio.com), non-interactive digital music streaming services (e.g., Pandora) as well as digital cable and satellite TV services (e.g., Music Choice, Muzak, DirecTV, Dish Network). A comprehensive list of all the current licensees is available from SoundExchange at http://www.soundexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2015-Q3-Licensee-Count-10-19-2015.pdf. For example, Pandora is a non-interactive service as it plays similar artists and songs based on a user’s selections and preferences; whereas, Spotify is an interactive service that enables a user to determine the exact song they wish to hear at that moment.

Each non-interactive licensee pays a statutory rate that is determined by a variety of factors, including the number of stations or channels, the number of listeners or subscribers, and/or the amount of advertising and other revenues earned by the licensee. In contrast, on-demand or interactive music streaming services, such as Spotify, are not subject to SoundExchange statutory licensing. These interactive services must enter into separate licensing agreements with the song’s copyright owners to utilize the works.

To pay its members, SoundExchange receives monthly reports from each of its licensees listing exactly what each licensee has performed that month. This data is compiled and utilized to distribute the licensing fees collected by SoundExchange to the appropriate6a00d83451b36c69e201b8d1897e71970c-800wi
parties on a pay-per-play basis. Of the total amounts collected, 50% percent of these funds are distributed to the owner of the song’s sound recording (typically, a record label), 45% of these funds go to the featured performer on the track (typically, the musician) and the remaining 5% of these funds are distributed to the non-featured performers on the track through the American Federation of Musicians (A.F.M.) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (A.F.T.R.A.). Additionally, SoundExchange takes a 4.6% administrative fee “off the top” of the total funds collected to handle these matters on behalf of its members.

Additionally, these royalties are very important to an artist as the funds are distributed directly to the recording artist without the artist’s respective share being first distributed to the artist’s record label. Typically, if the record label were to receive these funds first, they could potentially apply the funds against any unrecouped balance amount owed to the label; however, SoundExchange prevents this by distributing the funds directly to the artist. This distribution system is extremely advantageous to an artist, especially those signed to a major record label, as the artist can continue to receive SoundExchange payments without being fully recouped with their record label, which is not the case with most other royalties accrued in the music industry.

Also, SoundExchange currently holds at least $200 million in royalties owed to non-member artists. Most of these artists are unaware of the existence of this relatively new digital performance right and of the organization, SoundExchange, which administers the licensing. With the rise in popularity of Internet radio stations and music streaming services coupled with the decline in CD and download sales, it is essential that record labels and recording artists properly register with SoundExchange to ensure proper collection and distribution of all the royalties owed to them. SoundExchange’s distribution numbers have steadily risen in recent years and should continue to increase as more users switch from downloading media to streaming-based digital music services.

In conclusion, in order to receive the full value of an artist’s work, they should sign-up with SoundExchange and ensure that their musical repertoire is properly indexed to receive all the amounts they are entitled to. Additionally, SoundExchange does not administer royalties on behalf of downloaded material, as that is typically handled by the sound recording copyright owner (the record label).

Collins Connect handles all matters pertaining to music and the law, contact our office for help in registering your copyrights as well as indexing your works with ASCAP, BMI and SoundExchange visit www.collinsconnect.org.

BMI proudly presented its BMI Icon award to GRAMMY-winning songwriter, composer, producer, arranger and guitarist, Nile Rodgers, at the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. The star-studded event, held at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills on August 28, also celebrated the songwriters, producers and publishers of the most-performed R&B/hip-hop songs of the previous year.

Rodgers was honored for his unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers and his ability to connect people through song while defying musical expectations. As the 2015 BMI Icon award recipient, Rodgers joins an elite list of previous honorees that includes The Jacksons, Snoop Dogg, George Clinton, James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Little Richard and Al Green, to name a few.

BMI Hip-hop Awards
(L-R) Recording artist DJ Mustard, BMI President & CEO Mike O’Neill 2015 BMI Icon Award recipient Nile Rodgers and BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton onstage at the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Saban Theatre on August 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. Photo: Lester Cohen/Getty Images for BMI

The evening featured a slew of performances: B.o.B opened with a medley of hits followed by IloveMakonnen, who kept the energy going with “Tuesday.” Backed by music director Rickey Minor, as well as band and Donald Lawrence’s vocals, the high-powered Icon tribute was kicked off by R&B chanteuses Kelly Price covering “Upside Down,” Deborah Cox’s delivery of “I’m Coming Out,” Kathy Sledge and the Company offering a rousing rendition of “We Are Family,” and Empire’s V. Bozeman’s vibrant version of “I Want Your Love.” The celebration continued with CeeLo Green’s dynamic performance of “Let’s Dance.” The night concluded with the top honoree taking the stage to perform fan favorites “Good Times” and “Rappers Delight,” with hip-hop legend Chuck D joining Rodgers.

Additional top honors presented at the awards ceremony included John Legend’s “All of Me,” which earned the Song of the Year and DJ Mustard, who was crowned the Songwriter of the Year for penning hits “2 On,” “Don’t Tell ‘Em,” “I Don’t F**ck With You,” “Main Chick,” “My Hitta,” “Na Na,” “No Mediocre,” “Paranoid,” “Show Me,” and “Who Do You Love?” DJ Mustard also won the coveted Producer of the Year award for the second year in a row, while Universal Music Publishing Group accepted the prestigious Publisher of the Year crystal for having 18 of the most-performed songs from the previous year. BMI also recognized top producers Kanye West, J Cole, Jim Jonsin, Michael “Finatik” Mulé and Isaac De Boni.

Selected by fans voting via Twitter and Instagram, SoMo won the BMI Social Star Award, which salutes the BMI R&B/hip-hop songwriter who has best demonstrated the power of social media to showcase their songwriting talents.

BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill and Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Atlanta, Catherine Brewton, shared the evening’s hosting duties with R&B artist and actor Ray J, while guests celebrated and enjoyed Red Bull cocktails during the evening’s festivities. BMI partnered with HD Radio, TW Steel, Provider Inc. and KIND Snacks to present the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards.

BMI Hip-hop Awards
Recording artists B.o.B (L) and Sevyn Streeter attend the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Saban Theatre on August 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

To watch an exclusive interview with BMI Icon Nile Rodgers, click here!

Here’s the full list of 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards winners:

ICON AWARD
Nile Rodgers

R&B/HIP-HOP SONG OF THE YEAR
“All of Me”
John Legend
Tobias Gad*
John Legend Publishing

R&B/HIP-HOP SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
DJ Mustard
“2 On”
“Don’t Tell ‘Em”
“I Don’t F**k With You”
“Main Chick”
“My Hitta”
“Na Na”
“No Mediocre”
“Paranoid”
“Show Me”
“Who Do You Love?”

R&B/HIP-HOP PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING GROUP
“Anaconda”
“Beg For It”
“Don’t Tell ‘Em”
“Fancy”
“It Won’t Stop”
“Lifestyle”
“Main Chick”
“Move That Doh”
“My Hitta”
“New Flame”
“Paranoid”
“Show Me”
“Talk Dirty”
“The Man”
“Trophies”
“Tuesday”
“Who Do You Love?”
“Wiggle”

R&B/HIP-HOP PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
DJ Mustard

35 BMI Most Performed R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
2 ON
Bobby Brackins
DJ Mustard
Quincey “Schoolboy Q” Hanley
Jean-Robert Redwine
Tinashe
BMG Platinum Songs US
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
Primary Wave Beats
Red Soundscapes
Schoolboy Q Music
Settled Publishing
SONGS MP
Sony/ATV Ballad
Sony/ATV Songs LLC

Deborah Cox
Recording artist Deborah Cox attends the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Saban Theatre on August 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

23
Miley Cyrus
Jordan “Juicy J” Houston
Pierre Ramon Slaughter
Wiz Khalifa
Deeetta Music
Suga Bear Recordz Publishing
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Wiz Khalifa Publishing

ALL ME
George Clinton
Dwane Weir
Bridgeport Music, Inc.
Sean Michael Anderson Music
Wane County
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

ALL OF ME
John Legend
John Legend Publishing

ANACONDA
AnonXmous
Nicki Minaj
Polow Da Don
Sir Mix-a-Lot
Harajuku Barbie Music
I Love Belize Pub
Mix-a-Lot Publishing
Money Mack Music
My Diet Starts Tomorrow, Inc.
Songs of Universal, Inc.
U Can’t Teach Bein’ The Shhh, Inc.

BEG FOR IT
George Astasio
Kurtis McKenzie
Jason Pebworth
Jon Shave
John Turner
Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing
Sony/ATV Ballad
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Turn First Music Publishing
Universal-Songs of PolyGram International, Inc.

BELIEVE ME
Anderson “Vinylz” Hernandez
Lil Wayne
BMG Platinum Songs US
Kenobi Songs Publishing
Songs By Vinylz
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Young Money Publishing, Inc.

BMI Hip-Hop Awards
Recording artist Cee Lo Green (L) and 2015 BMI Icon Award recipient Nile Rodgers pose onstage at the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Saban Theatre on August 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

BLACK WIDOW
Benjamin “Benny Blanco” Levin
Matza Ballzack Music
Where Da Kasz At?

DON’T TELL ‘EM
Thea Austin
DJ Mustard
Mick Schultz
YG
Irving Music
Mick Schultz Publishing
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
SONGS MP
Spirit One Music
Universal Music-Careers
YG 400 Publishing

DRUNK IN LOVE
Rasool Diaz
Noel “Detail” Fisher
Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon
Andre Eric Proctor
Brian Soko
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
If You Need Me Don’t Leave Me
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

FANCY
George Astasio
Kurtis McKenzie
Jason Pebworth
Jon Shave
John Turner
Sony/ATV Ballad
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Turn First Music Publishing
Universal-Songs of PolyGram International, Inc.

FIREBALL
Ilsey Juber
Joe London
Armando “Pitbull” Perez
Tom Peyton
Ricky Reed
John Ryan
Andreas “Axident” Schuller
Abuela Y Tia Songs LLC
Artist 101 Publishing Group
BMG Platinum Songs US
Bob Erotik Music
Honua Songs
Lord Boyce
Music of BIG DEAL
Nice Life
Reach Music Songs
Songs From The Boardwalk
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Sparko Phone Music
The Family Songbook
The Viking Pimp Music

I DON’T F**K WITH YOU
DJ Mustard
Willie Hansbro
Earl “E-40” Stevens
Dwane Weir
Kanye West
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Heavy On The Grind Entergament Music
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
Please Gimme My Publishing, Inc.
Sayitainttone Songs
Sean Michael Anderson Music
SONGS MP
Swizole Music
Wane County
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

BMI
Recording artist Kelly Price performs onstage at the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Saban Theatre on August 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

IT WON’T STOP
Ryan Buendia (DJ Replay)
Michael McHenry
Micah Powell
August Rush Music
Downtown DMP Songs
Ryan Buendia Music
Songs of Universal, Inc.

LIFESTYLE
Dequantes Lamar p/k/a Rich Homie Quan
Bryan “Baby” Williams
Young Thug
Money Mack Music
RichHomiez Publishing
Songs of Universal, Inc.
Songs of YSL Music Publishing
TIG7 Publishing LLC

LOVE NEVER FELT SO GOOD
Paul Anka
Michael Jackson
Mijac Music
Paulanne Music, Inc.

MAIN CHICK
Chris Brown
DJ Mustard
Culture Beyond Ur Experience Publishing
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
SONGS MP
Songs of Universal, Inc.

MOVE THAT DOH
Casino
Ray Davies (PRS)
Future
Pusha T
Pierre Ramon Slaughter
Empire Strikes First
Irving Music
Jay-Boy Music Corp.
Nayvadius Maximus Music
Neighborhood Pusha Publishing
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

MY HITTA
Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus
DJ Mustard
Awood “Mr. Magic” Johnson
Dequantes Lamar p/k/a Rich Homie Quan
Craig “KLC” Lawson
Corey “C Murder” Miller
YG
Young Jeezy
Block Off Broad Publishing
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Irving Music
L P Boyz Music LLC
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
My Own Chit Publishing
RichHomiez Publishing
SONGS MP
TIG7 Publishing LLC
Ultra Empire Music
YG 400 Publishing
Young Jeezy Music

NA NA
DJ Mustard
Salaam Remi
Teena Marie
Trey Songz
April’s Boy Music LLC
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
SONGS MP
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

NEW FLAME
Eric Bellinger
Chris Brown
Malissa Hunter
Justin “Count Justice” Johnson
Rick Ross
Maurice “Verse” Simmonds
4 Blunts Lit At Once Publishing
BMG Platinum Songs US
Bu Thiam Publishing
Culture Beyond Ur Experience Publishing
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
First and Gold Publishing
Songs of Universal, Inc.
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Verse and Sham Music Publishing

NO MEDIOCRE
DJ Mustard
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
SONGS MP

BMI Hip-hop Awards
Recording artist B.o.B performs onstage at the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Saban Theatre on August 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

PARANOID
B.o.B
DJ Mustard
Tyrone William “Ty$” Griffin, Jr.
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Ham Squad Music
Its Drugs Publishing
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
SONGS MP
Songs of Universal, Inc.

PART II (ON THE RUN)
Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

PARTITION
Mike Dean
Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon
Dwane Weir
Papa George Music
Sean Michael Anderson Music
Wane County
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

SHOW ME
Chris Brown
DJ Mustard
Allen George
Christian “TeeFlii” Jones
Fred McFarlane
Culture Beyond Ur Experience Publishing
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Exscuse My Liquor Music
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
peermusic lll, Ltd.
Song-A-Tron Music
SONGS MP
Songs of 7 Kings
Songs of Universal, Inc.

STUDIO
Quincey “Schoolboy Q” Hanley
Schoolboy Q Music
Sony/ATV Ballad

TALK DIRTY
Jason Derülo
Sean Douglas
Jason Evigan
Tamir Muskat
Ricky Reed
Bad Robot
BELUGA HEIGHTS MUSIC
BMG Platinum Songs US
Eastman Pond Publishing
Irving Music
Jason Derülo Publishing
Muskatlove Music
Songs From The Boardwalk
SONGS MP
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

THE MAN
Sam Barsh
DJ Khalil
Elton John (PRS)
Bernie Taupin
HH Music Worldwide
Jaleesa and Mahdi’s Music
Songs of Universal, Inc.
Universal-Songs of PolyGram International, Inc.

TOM FORD
Chris Godbey
Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon
Sony/ATV Ballad
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

TROPHIES
Chauncey “Hit Boy” Hollis
Raymond “ReyReel” Martin
Songs of Universal, Inc.
Sony/ATV Ballad
U Can’t Teach Bein’ The Shhh, Inc.

TUESDAY
Metro Boomin
Makonnen Sheran
Sonny Digital
Bangvillage 247 Publishing LLC
Irving Music
Pluto Mars Music
Red Dragon Boy Music
Sonny Digital Music Group
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

WHO DO YOU LOVE?
William Bell
DJ Mustard
Anthony Forté Rappin’ 4-Tay
Booker T. Jones
YG
Irving Music
Mustard on the Beat Publishing
Rag Top Publishing
SONGS MP
Songs of Universal, Inc.
YG 400 Publishing

BMI Hip-hop Awards
Recording artist Snoop Dogg (L) and producer DJ Mustard accept awards onstage at the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Saban Theatre on August 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

WIGGLE
Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus
Jason Derülo
Sean Douglas
Joe London
Ricky Reed
John Ryan
Andreas “Axident” Schuller
Artist 101 Publishing Group
BELUGA HEIGHTS MUSIC
BMG Platinum Songs US
Bob Erotik Music
Eastman Pond Publishing
Honua Songs
Irving Music
Jason Derülo Publishing
Music of BIG DEAL
My Own Chit Publishing
Nice Life
Songs From The Boardwalk
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
The Family Songbook
The Viking Pimp Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

WILD WILD LOVE
Ammar Malik
Armando “Pitbull” Perez
Abuela Y Tia Songs LLC
Maru Cha Cha
Sony/ATV Songs LLC

BMI Hip-hop Awards
Record producer Dallas Austin accepts awards onstage at the 2015 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards at Saban Theatre on August 28, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

Key West Songwriters Festival

BMI is pleased to announce the lineup for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Key West Songwriters Festival, presented by BMI. Benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and in association with Visit Florida, Jagermeister and the Key West & Florida Keys Tourist Development Council, the Key West Songwriters Festival for the 20th year will again feature many of music’s most decorated songwriters in one-of-a-kind showcases and concert events dotting venues across the tropical island May 6-10, 2015.

“The Key West Songwriters Festival exhibits BMI’s strong commitment to nurturing the careers of our songwriters and is the perfect place for songwriters to showcase their talent,” says Mark Mason, BMI’s Executive Director of Writer/Publisher Relations. “We’re thrilled to be able to partner with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association in such a unique location to host show after show of some of the best songwriters in the country.”

The impressive list of performers for this year includes headliners Chris Young, Robert Earl Keen, Dean Dillon, Jeffrey Steele, Kacey Musgraves, Rhett Akins, Bob Dipiero, Lee Thomas Miller, Raul Malo, Al Anderson, Pat MacLaughlin, Shawn Camp, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, James Slater, Even Stevens, Steve Bogard, Steve McEwan, Guthrie Trapp and the Mulekickers, Chuck Cannon, Loving Mary, Josh Dorr, Dylan Altman Blues Band, Kostas, Aaron Watson, and many more.

“We are so honored to sponsor the Key West Songwriters Festival,” says Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “It brings a diverse line up of some of the top songwriters to a vibrant city, encouraging people to venture to the festival to discover new acts or revisit old favorites. We cannot wait to see what this year’s talented group of songwriters has in store for us this round.”

The festival will kick off with a concert on Ocean Key Resort’s Sunset Pier, followed by daily stages at the Southernmost Hotel Collection, sunset shows on Pier House Resort’s beach and The Westin, Main Stage Duval Street Concert featuring Chris Young, and rounded out with a closing concert at the historic Casa Marina Resort. In addition, the NSAI will present a special Bluebird at Blue Heaven show on Thursday, May 7. Ticketed shows for the festival will include Theatre Shows at San Carlos Institute, Tropic Cinema, and the revived Key West Theater and Sunset Sail Shows on Fury Water Adventures. Tickets for these events will be on sale in March.

For updates on the event, follow @BMI on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, and use hashtag #BMIKeyWest. Sponsors of the Key West Songwriters Festival include SunTrust Bank, Texas Roadhouse, HD Radio, Epiphone, and Texas Heritage Songwriters Association. For a complete listing of sponsoring hotels, local businesses, participating songwriters and more, visit www.keywestsongwritersfestival.com.

key west songwriters festival

Performing Rights Licensing in the United States: A World of Multiple Choices, Considerations, and Results

Today’s world of music licensing is undergoing major changes in practically all areas. In the U.S. performance area, the traditional music licensing entities are ASCAP (1914), BMI (1939), and SESAC (1930). Their counterparts in other countries of the world include PRS for Music in the United Kingdom, SOCAN in Canada, and SACEM in France. Existing alongside them is the ability to direct or source license music thereby bypassing the performing rights organization (PRO) structures altogether either on an individual transaction basis (e.g., a particular television show) or for an entire medium (e.g., the Internet).

To make intelligent decisions in this field, you need to know the traditional licensing structures of the PROs with their long history of negotiations, license fees, litigation, and royalty payments, as well as the possible ramifications of a direct or source license as to terms, payments, and other contractual obligations and considerations both in the United States and worldwide. This information is essential regardless of whether you are happy with past and current PRO licensing or are in a situation where you are contemplating a direct or source license or have been asked to consider one or are being forced to enter into one.

THE PERFORMING RIGHT
The exclusive right to publicly perform a work is a right of copyright that is set forth in the U.S. Copyright Law, as well as the laws of most countries, and that applies to the payment of license fees by music users when those users perform the copyrighted musical compositions of writers and publishers. This right recognizes that a writer’s creation is a property right and its use requires permission as well as compensation.

Performances can be songs heard on the radio, a website, or a digital jukebox; or the score in a television series or feature film; or music performed live or on tape at a Las Vegas show, an amusement park, a sporting event, a major concert venue, a local rock and roll, country, or jazz club, or a symphonic concert hall. Performances can be music channels on an airplane, music at a convention, or music on hold on a telephone. Music users (those that pay the license fees) include the major television networks, U.S. local television and radio stations, pay cable services (HBO, Showtime), basic cable (USA Network, MTV, VH-1, A&E), online streaming services, concert halls, websites, the hotel industry, colleges and universities, nightclubs, bar and grills, theme parks, and many others. In short, in most situations where music is being performed (with the exception of the home), a user is paying a license fee, an organization is collecting those fees, and writers and music publishers are being paid royalties for the performances of their copyrighted works.

In the United States, this right’s primary recognition came as part of the 1909 Copyright Act, with further definition under the 1976 Copyright Revision Act. The right covers the non-dramatic performance of copyrighted musical works. It does not involve dramatic rights, also known as grand rights, where performances of a composition are licensed directly by the copyright owner. Dramatic, or grand, rights include works being performed in musicals (the live theatre), operas, ballets, and so on. Compositions, though considered dramatic in the context of their original theater or opera setting, are generally under the non-dramatic right when performed individually on radio or television.

In the United States, three organizations negotiate license fee agreements with the users of music and distribute those fees back to the writers and publishers whose music and lyrics are being performed. The organizations are the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP); Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI); and SESAC.

ASCAP, BMI, AND SESAC INCOME
The starting point for how much an ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC performance is worth is the total revenue that comes into each organization. In 2011, ASCAP’s total receipts were $985 million with BMI at $931 million. Combined distributions to songwriters, composers, and music publishers were in excess of $1.6 billion. SESAC, a smaller private for-profit corporation, does not issue financial information, but reliable estimates place it in the area of $100 million in annual revenue.

It is important to keep in mind that approximately $650 million of the $2 billion annual ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC total represents monies forwarded by foreign performing right collection societies for U.S. songwriter and composer works performed in foreign territories. Most music publishers collect their foreign monies directly at the source via their contractual arrangements with sub-publishers, but some receive their publisher royalties directly via foreign societies that remit the royalties to ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC (whichever is applicable), which then send the monies to the U.S. publisher. The foreign area is important as payments could very well be affected by the language, structure, and scope of any direct or source license agreement.

The next PRO inquiry relates to how much an individual performance is worth in any given medium, as this figure at least provides some form of comparative compensation framework in which to work. Considering that ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC have completely different payment schedules for every type of use (score, visual vocal, theme song, jingle, etc.) in every type of medium (broadcast television, cable, radio, the Internet, etc.), this second inquiry can be extensive depending on the medium and type of performance you are dealing with.

TYPES OF LICENSE AGREEMENTS
The most common type of license agreement signed by users with ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC is the “blanket license.” This license allows a user (a radio or television station, for instance) to perform any works in the ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC repertory during the term of the license for a specific negotiated or court set fee. This unlimited access to repertory includes all of the past works of writer and publisher members or affiliates, as well as the works written by such members or affiliates during the entire term of the license agreement. The license also covers the works of writers who are members of foreign societies (PRS, SOCAN, APRA, GEMA, IMRO, JASRAC, BUMA, etc.). The blanket license allows a user to perform the copyrighted works of writers and publishers without worrying about infringement litigation (performing copyrighted works without permission), the administrative record keeping of what is being performed, or the identity of the correct parties to be paid and what the payment is to be.

Blanket licenses are normally negotiated agreements in which the license fee paid by the user can be, among others, a flat dollar fee, a per-subscriber or gross revenue fee, a fee based on net receipts from sponsors, a fee based on intensity of music usage, or a fee based on such other objective factors as the number of full-time students for universities, the seating capacity and the types of equipment used in nightclubs, and live entertainment expenditures for hotels. As part of the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees with the government, a federal rate court determination of a reasonable license fee also is available. License agreements have a maximum term of five years.

A per-program license is where a station pays a license fee only for each program using ASCAP or BMI music that is not otherwise licensed directly or at the source. The fee is dependent on the advertising revenues the program has generated for the station. The station also pays an incidental music fee for music uses not contained in specific programs and ambient uses in local news programs. The core provisions of this license were set by the court decision in United States v. ASCAP (In re Application of Buffalo Broadcasting Co.), No. 13-95 (WCC), 1993 WL 60687 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 1, 1993). Additional PRO licenses include a “Per-segment license” and a “Through- to- the Audience license”.

Two other forms of license involve the writer and publisher (the copyright owner) making an agreement directly with a user or directly with a program producer (a film or television producer, who then grants the license to a user). These latter two forms of license are permitted under the ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC writer and publisher agreements, as those agreements are nonexclusive and enable a writer to license his or her works directly even though he or she is a member of ASCAP or an affiliate of BMI or SESAC.

WRITER AND PUBLISHER CONTRACTS AND TERMINATION DATES
One of the most important provisions of any contract is the termination provision—the clause and rules that govern how you can leave an organization in order to join another. In the performing rights area, these provisions not only control whether a writer or publisher can leave but also whether one can remove his or her works from one organization and place them with another.

Over the years, there have been many major writer and publisher switches—some due to advances, guarantees, and other financial incentives; some due to significant out payments by one organization over another for the same type of use; some due to an organization’s rules and regulations, which significantly affected earnings; some because of the difference in payments between writers and publishers; some because the staff and services are better elsewhere; some based on personal relationships; some based on philosophy; some based on the inability to correct a problem, understand a problem, or solve a problem; some based on inadequate surveys of performances, which determine payment; and some just to make a change.

Regardless of the reason, it is essential you know each organization’s termination/resignation provisions as well as the rules, regulations, and policies affecting continued payment and the ability to remove works.

When a writer or publisher joins ASCAP or affiliates with BMI or SESAC, he or she fills out an application and signs a contract, which is a legally binding agreement that sets forth the specific contractual obligations, duties, and remedies of all parties. Contracts have changed over time, so always be aware of the PRO contract that governs your situation.

The ASCAP agreement is the same for both writers and publishers and gives the society the right to license the non-dramatic public performances of the member’s works. The agreement also grants ASCAP the right to enforce and protect the rights of public performance, to prevent infringement of such works by litigation, and to have all of the rights and remedies for enforcing the copyrights as well as the right to sue under such copyrights. The agreement is subject to the provisions of ASCAP’s 1950, 1960, and 2001 Consent Decrees with the government, as well as the society’s articles of association and any resolutions of the ASCAP board of directors. The agreement also states that the board of directors must consist of an equal number of writers and publishers, and that the royalties distributed must be divided into two equal sums for division to writer and publisher members.

The ASCAP agreement is a continuing year-to-year agreement that gives a writer or publisher the right to resign from the society any year. A specific form needs to be completed and signed, and notice provisions, based on a writer or publisher’s date of election to ASCAP, must be adhered to. For instance, writers and publishers elected to ASCAP membership in January, February, or March of any year must give notice between July 1 and October 1 of the prior year for the resignation to be effective on April 1. The resignation notice dates for April, May, and June ASCAP elections of any year would require notice between October 1 and January 1 of the prior year for an effective resignation on July 1. And so forth.

The contracts that most writers and publishers sign with BMI are the same, but provisions can be negotiated provided the writer or publisher makes such a request and has the bargaining power to effect a change. Although most initial affiliation agreements are not negotiated, many successful writers and publishers renegotiate the provisions prior to any extension of the contract.

Most BMI writer agreements are for a period of two years and continue thereafter for additional terms of two years each, unless they are terminated by either party by registered or certified mail not more than six months or less than three months prior to the end of a term. For example, if a writer signed a BMI contract on June 30, 2010, the contract would run until June 30, 2012, and continue to renew for additional two-year periods (June 30, 2014; June 30, 2016; June 30, 2018) unless terminated. A writer could terminate by giving registered or certified notice to BMI no sooner than six months prior to June 30, 2012, or any two-year term after that, and no later than three months prior to June 30, 2012, or any two-year term after that.

Most BMI publisher agreements are for a period of five years from the date of signing and continue for additional periods of five years each, unless terminated by either party by registered or certified mail not more than six months or less than three months prior to the end of a term. If a publisher misses the termination date, the contract extends for an additional five-year period. For example, if a publisher signed a contract on June 30, 2007, and wished to terminate the contract sometime afterward, notice would have to be given no sooner than six months prior to June 30, 2012, and no later than three months prior to June 30, 2012. If these termination dates are missed, the contract will extend to June 30, 2017.

SESAC does have a standard writer and publisher agreement, which can be modified through negotiation. The writer and publisher contracts grant to SESAC on a nonexclusive basis the “right to perform publicly and to license to others to perform publicly, the writer’s and publisher’s works throughout the world.” The term of the agreement is three years, with automatic renewals for three-year periods on the same terms and conditions as the original agreement if not timely terminated. Writers and publishers can terminate these agreements by giving written notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, at least three months but not more than six months prior to the expiration of the current period of the term. SESAC contracts prior to the late 1990s were five-year publisher and three-year writer agreements automatically renewable.

streaming-music-radio-services-playlists-compared

As streaming has become increasingly important in today’s music market, it is imperative that you understand how streams turn into publishing royalties – and of course, how to get those royalties into your wallet.

Let’s divide streaming into two different types: Interactive and Non-Interactive. These are defined by the listener’s ability to choose the songs that play next (ability to ‘interact’ with the streaming service, if you will).

1) Non-Interactive Streaming:

Definition: Listeners play music, without the ability to choose the songs that play next.

Also Known As: Internet Radio.

Examples: Pandora, Sirius XM, NPR.

Royalties Generated: Performance royalties.
(These are performances like radio, but digital. Thus, terrestrial radio and other radio-like services generate only performance royalties.)

How to Collect: Join a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC). PROs are responsible for tracking and collecting performance royalties generated from terrestrial and internet radio.

2) Interactive Streaming:

Definition: Interactive streaming services allow listeners to CHOOSE the songs that are played.

Also Known As: On-demand streaming.

Examples: Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, Google Play, Beats Music.

Royalties: Performance royalties & Mechanical royalties.

How to collect: To collect the performance royalties, you will need to join a PRO. To collect the mechanical royalties, you will need to become a publisher affiliate at Harry Fox Agency (to do so on your own, you must have a commercially distributed record release in the US within the last year).

So one afternoon you sat down and wrote a simple four-chord song and made a rough recording on your home hard-disk multi-track. You sent it to a friend who liked it, and the next thing you know, a top artist heard it and fell in love. They want it for their next album. A few months later, the song is on the radio and it’s a hit. You’ve won the jackpot.

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Suddenly, as if from nowhere, your mailbox is being stuffed with large, thick envelopes from various companies. Who are they? What do they want? There seem to be hundreds of them and they all have thick forms and legal documents for you to fill out. You’re hearing from record companies, performance rights organizations, publishing companies, promotion companies … It is staggering how many companies are associated with a marketable song.

All right, so the above example is a bit oversimplified, although I have seen songwriters with successes almost that dramatic. The point I’m making is that most artists and songwriters are at first unaware of the amount of paperwork and legal documentation that goes into the simple four-chord song they wrote and produced in their living room. Here is a basic list of some of the main companies and what they do. They are the entities we speak of when we speak of “the music industry.”

Record Companies
Record companies are in the business of making bets. Every band they sign requires an outlay of cash. If it’s a major label or a major-owned indie, it could be anywhere from $200,000 to $2,000,000 per act. If it’s an independent, the tab is usually no more than $50,000. In essence, record companies are really banks that specialize in lending money to musicians. The idea that a record company gives an artist money is the most common misconception among new artists. In reality, record companies loan the artist money.

When you read about an artist getting a one-million-dollar recording contract, it means that the record company offered to loan that artist up to a million dollars over the course of the contract. The artist is expected to pay it back out of the royalties that their record earns.

Aside from loaning money, record companies offer promotional and distribution services to a recording artist. These services can range from merely supporting distribution for an already finished record, usually for about 25% of the artist’s profit, all the way to the other end of the spectrum of financing the recording of the record and then promoting and supporting its distribution. For this, the take is generally up around 90% of the proceeds from record sales.

Production Companies
These operate in one similar way as record companies – they invest in talent – and one vital way that they do not, in that they do not have a specific distribution contract with a distributor to get their recordings into a retail environment. This is no small exception – if you can’t get the records in front of customers, you usually can’t sell very many of them.
Production companies, which I sometimes call “vanity labels” or “three-deep labels,” are usually owned by producers or recording studios. They sign artists and produce demos and shop them in hopes of getting the artist a record deal.
Many production companies dream of being record companies and often seek an affiliation with a major label or distributor to handle their product. But don’t be fooled. Unless the production company has secured a distribution contract with a legitimate distributor or has found a way to independently release their recordings, they are no more capable of selling records en masse than you or I.

Publishing Companies
The role of the publishing company is easy to comprehend, even if publishing deals themselves are not. Simply put, publishing companies control and safeguard the copyright by dealing with the complex renewal regulations, and they collect the money that is due to the songwriters whose copyrights they acquire. They also litigate on behalf of their authors in case of infringement, and they shop your songs to various other companies to use in movies, commercials, TV shows, and so on.
In exchange for these services writers agree to hand over the copyright of their songs and receive a percentage of whatever the songs earn – usually about 50%.

If you’ve written a song that is going to be released on a major record label, you are going to make money. Because the Copyright Act of 1976 requires record companies to pay for the use of a song on a record. The rate labels have agreed to pay is called the “compulsory rate” (sometimes called the “statutory rate”). It is paid to each author who writes a song that’s on any record they distribute. As of January 2006 the rate is 9.1¢ per song for each record distributed.

So, to continue our mock example, you wrote a song that will now be on a big record. The record company agrees to pay the owner of the copyright a compulsory licensing fee of about 9¢ for each song on a record, and for each record sold. A million-seller has huge potential.

The publishing company sees an opportunity to collect some easy coin, so they will try to make a deal to collect writers’ royalties, since writers seldom want to go to the trouble of pounding the phones and hiring accountants to do this nasty work themselves. The publishing company will also negotiate and collect the synchronization license fees for a song. A synchronization license is the fee that a movie or television company pays for the right to use the song as part of the soundtrack in a film or TV show. These fees can be quite high.

For the use of Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” in the movie Groundhog Day, the film’s producers paid the song’s publishers $80,000. Not bad. In recent years publishing companies have found new sources of revenue in “clearing samples.” Samples are the small sound bits used mostly in rap and R&B to make up pieces of the groove of a song. The publishing company owns the rights to the songs embodied in the samples, so they can negotiate a fee for use of the sample in a new song. Then there are ringtones, a revenue stream worth about $1 billion a year to publishers.

As an artist or writer, you may be asking yourself, “Why do I need this?” Well, you may not. Starting in the ’60s, many artists who wrote their own material realized that they were giving up 50% of their money to a service that they didn’t require, because they were the artist recording the material. Why hire a company to sell the material to others? They began to make publishing arrangements directly with the record companies. In order to compete with this new trend, publishing companies started handing out big advances to new artists, as high as $1,000,000 for a new act; superstar writers can get five times that amount. In fact, this still is a common practice. But still, why would an artist accept any amount of money to give away 50% of their music when they don’t have to?

Over the past few years, in an attempt to compete directly with publishing companies, several entities have sprung up that will gladly collect a songwriter’s (or publisher’s) money and enforce his rights for a mere 10%. They call themselves copyright administration companies. They don’t generally shop songs (but most publishing companies don’t do that either these days) nor do they give you large advances. But if you haven’t tied up your administration rights with a standard publishing deal when luck strikes and one of your songs is placed in a major project, signing with one of these has huge advantages. You retain most of your rights, and these companies perform most of the same services that you would expect from a publisher. Some of these companies also administrate the copyrights of sound recordings, something traditional publishing companies do not do as yet.
The one type of revenue that publishing companies and copyright administration companies let others collect for them are performance royalties – that is, the royalty that the writer/publisher of a song gets each time that song is performed publicly on media like radio or network TV.

In the music business, “perform” has a unique definition that goes beyond the normal use. When you see a musician play a song live on TV, you’re obviously watching a performance. But did you know that when a DJ spins a record in a club, what you’re hearing is a “performance” as well, even though it’s originating from a machine? This also goes for cover bands playing at weddings, as well as jukeboxes in bars, DVDs, turntables in nightclubs, and any other type of music that is experienced in a “for profit” public place.
So, yes, the common interpretation of law says that each time a radio station plays a song for its hundreds of thousands of listeners or a DJ spins a mix in your favorite dance club, the writer should get paid a few pennies for the “performance.” If the song is a hit, this can add up to quite a few pennies. But how can you ever know how many times each station or club plays a song, or how many wedding bands are turning your cool hit into “the bride cuts the cake”?

Performing Rights Organizations
Enter the PROs, that is, the performing rights organizations: ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC. (Also called “Societies.”) In the United States, they represent the writers, the little guy out there trying to make a buck in the super-duper Big Brother environment of the broadcast industry.

These three companies monitor clubs, venues, theaters, and the airwaves and keep track of who plays what and how many times. They collect performance fees (which vary according to the approximate listenership of each station or size of each venue) and distribute this money to the writers who are registered with them. Because the costs of negotiating millions of transactions would be prohibitive, a system has evolved using these societies in similar ways that unions represent laborers with collective bargaining. Each society negotiates a “blanket license” (kind of like a set annual payment) that permits broadcasters and venues to play music by its members.

Since you cannot belong to more than one PRO at a time, and since hit songs earn a ton of cash, these organizations compete fiercely for membership. The rivalry between ASCAP and BMI has filled the pages of several other books, all worth reading before you venture into joining either. To attract members, each sometimes offers cash advances to a new artist/writer who just signed a big deal (although they “officially” deny this practice), and each also boasts about its unique monitoring system. BMI’s pitch is that they have the largest membership in the world.

But there is currently much debate over how fair the systems for ASCAP and BMI are because to some it seems as though the payouts favor certain writers or types of music. SESAC has managed to dodge this bullet for the moment, since they use an “objective” computerized monitoring system – but it is likely that they, too, will be under scrutiny soon as their membership grows.
There are other PROs in other countries. In fact, each European, Asian, and South American country has its own versions of ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, but you need not concern yourself with them. For those with international hits originating in the U.S., the three main PROs mentioned above will attempt to collect from each of the smaller ones in the individual countries.

SoundExchange
Due to the internet, a new type of PRO designed strictly for collecting the performance royalties for digitally streamed sound recordings has been created. These days “digital streaming” means through the internet and over satellite radio. Why is this new? Well, in the U.S., sound recordings were never paid a royalty when publicly “performed.” That means, in simple terms, when a song played on the radio, the songwriter made a royalty, but the people who own the sound recording of that song made zilch. This includes the record company and the artist who performs the song. Hard to believe, but true. (In Europe and Australia both the song and the sound recording of the song are subject to performance royalties).

However, a new statute that allows for the collection of royalties from “digital sources” has opened up a fresh revenue stream for artists and their labels. This royalty is supposed to be split between the artist, the label, and the collective other musicians who played on the record in a 50%/45%/5% split, respectively. (The musician’s share actually gets paid to the musician’s union, the AFM, which supposedly distributes it to members using its own formulas.

While it’s true that so far the only sources for earning “digital sound recording performance royalties” are things like internet steaming/downloads and Internet and satellite radio, it’s a given that in the not-too-distant future many forms of transmissions (and distribution) will be digital, and thus we will see artists making additional money from these “performances” of their records. Examples might be the digitally “beaming in” of music to restaurants and stadiums, as well as cell phone ringtones and many other mediums.

Unlike PROs, who collect royalties for non-digital performances, wherein you have a choice of ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC, there is only one PRO to collect this new money: SoundExchange. SoundExchange collects and distributes millions of dollars a year to artists and labels. They have approximately 31,000 artist accounts and approximately 3,500 independent labels as well as the majors. In 2007 they took in $141,546,442 and for 2008 gross revenue is projected to be $154,260,000. Since they claim that their overhead is only about 7%, that means that over 93% of all this new money is getting split between artists and their labels.

U.S. COPYRIGHT ACT

  • Grants Exclusive Rights to Copyright Authors or Owners
  • Right to Reproduce
  • Right to Make Derivative Works
  • Right to Distribute
  • Right to Perform
  • Right to Display

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COPYRIGHT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

EVERY RECORDED SONG CONTAINS TWO COPYRIGHTS 1) MUSICAL COMPOSITION The notes and lyrics of the song 2) SOUND RECORDING The Recording Artist’s recorded version of the song Even if the recording artist is the songwriter, two copyrights are created – one for the sound recording and one for the musical composition.

What is a Music Publisher

A music publisher works with songwriters to market and promote their songs, resulting in exposure of songs to the public and generating income. Music publishers “pitch” songs to record labels, movie and television producers and others who use music, then license the right to use the song and collect fees for the usage. Those fees are then split with the songwriter.

Music Publishers and Record Labels

Songwriters enter into publishing, co-publishing, or administration agreements with music publishers. In exchange for acquiring the copyright, a portion of the copyright, or a percentage of the revenue earned from the exploitation of the musical composition, the music publisher seeks opportunities to exploit the musical composition, collects revenue from the exploitation, and pays and accounts to the songwriter. The music publisher share is usually 50%. Recording artists assign their copyrights to a record label in exchange for a negotiated royalty.

Types of Licenses Issued by Music Publishers

• Reproduction (Mechanical) Licenses Music distributed in physical and digital form. The royalties are generally collected and paid by the Harry Fox Agency.

• Public Performance Licenses Music broadcast on radio (terrestrial and satellite), in live venues, and other public places. The royalties are collected and paid by public performance societies (ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC). Each broadcaster receives a blanket license from each performing rights society, in exchange for a royalty fee.

• Synchronization Licenses Music used in fi lm, television, commercials, music videos, etc. Publishers enter into direct licenses with users.

• Folio Licenses Music published in written form as lyrics and music notation either as bound music folios or online lyric and tablature websites. Publishers enter into direct licenses with users.

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It’s official. We’re having twins! After many consecutive years of sell-out crowds, the festival is doubling down to accommodate more fans next October! Next year, The Austin City Limits Music Festival will showcase back-to-back offerings of the same great lineup of music, art, local food and activities to Zilker Park. Mark your calendars NOW for Weekend One happening October 4-6, 2013 and Weekend Two happening October 11-13, 2013!

Once again, our Official ACL Festival E-list gets first crack at the Early Bird Passes for both Weekend One and Weekend Two. On Monday, October 22 we will be sending an e-mail asking you to verify your e-mail address. Not on the E-list? You better sign up by the end of the week to be eligible!

Click the “Verify” Button in the e-mail before 11:59PM CT on Friday, October 26 and you will be eligible for the Early Bird on-sale. We will send you a unique passcode to your verified e-mail address on Monday, October 29 to use during the on-sale, which will take place on Tuesday, October 30.

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You already know that ACL Fest will be bringing the music to Austin for two consecutive weekends next month, but did you also know that there are a handful of other exciting events and conferences taking place at the same time in our bustling city?

**Address: Zilker Park Austin, Texas, USA

Copyrights

The Library of Congress handles all copyright applications through the Copyright Office. Beginning in mid-2008, the most current form for song registration isonline Form CO, although the old forms for song registration – Form PA (Performing Arts) and Form SR (Sound Recording) – may still be requested and used.

Advantages of filing a copyright registration using online Form CO include:

  • Lower filing fee of $35 for a basic claim;
  • Fastest processing time;
  • Online status tracking;
  • secure payment by credit or debit card, electronic check, or Copyright Office deposit account;
  • the ability to upload recordings directly into eCO as electronic files.

 Before using the service, we recommend you first read eCO TipseCO FAQs, or eCO Tutorial (PowerPoint) eCO Tutorial (PDF).

The two alternate methods to the online Form CO application for song registration include:

1) Registration with Fill-In Form CO

The next best option for registering basic claims is the new fill-in Form CO, which replaces Forms PA and SR. Using 2-D barcode scanning technology, the Office can process these forms much faster and more efficiently than paper forms completed manually. Simply complete Form CO on your personal computer, print it out, and mail it along with a check or money order and your deposit. The fee for a basic registration on Form CO is $50.

2) Registration with Paper Forms

Paper versions of Form PA (performing arts works, including motion pictures); Form SR (sound recordings) are still available. The fee for a basic registration using one of these forms is $65 payable by check or money order. Form CON (continuation sheet for applications) is also still available in paper. These paper forms are not accessible on the Copyright Office website; however, staff will send them to you by postal mail upon request.

Remember that online registration through eCO and fill-in Form CO (see above) can be used for the categories of works applicable to Forms PA and SR. Form eCO was created in 2008 to replace and consolidate forms PA and SR. For personal assistance call (202) 707-3000 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. CST.

If you want to determine the copyright ownership of a specific musical work, you can search the Library of Congress’ online registration catalog for works registered since 1978. Contact the Library of Congress at (202) 707-6850 for additional information and fees.

To determine the current publisher of a song, contact the Research and Information Department of BMI at (212) 586-2000 or ASCAP’s Clearance Express (ACE)at (212) 621-6160. You must know the song title and name of the songwriter(s) prior to contacting either of these performing rights organizations. Publishing information for some of the songs contained in their repertoire is available online.

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Performing Rights Affiliations

ASCAP
Mike Doyle, Membership Relations
2 Music Square West, Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 742-5000; (800) 492-7227, (800) 910-7347; fax (615) 742-5020

BMI
Mark Mason, Director of Writer/Publisher Relations
10 Music Square East, Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 401-2000; fax (615) 401-2707

SESAC
Tim Fink, Associate Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations
55 Music Square East
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 320-0055; fax (615) 321-6290

Mechanical Royalties and Licensing

If you are a publisher (representing songwriters whose work has been licensed by record labels, online music services, ringtone companies, etc.) and are interested in affiliating with an agency to collect your mechanical royalties, or are a record company or other licensee that would like to request a license, contact:

Harry Fox Agency
711 Third Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10017
(212) 834-0100; fax (212) 953-2384

Harry Fox Agency en Español has answers to frequently asked questions regarding HFA and music licensing, along with a direct email,esp@harryfox.com, which goes directly to the company’s Latin Licensing agents.
Contacto e español:
Isabel Mayoral
(212) 922-3290

To request a license, contact the Client Services Department at (212) 834-0100. Additional organizations and businesses administer song catalogs; contact theTexas Music Office for a list of other administrators.

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Digital Performance Royalties

SoundExchange is the first organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office to collect digital performance royalties for featured recording artists, sound recording copyright owners (SRCOs) and non-featured artists when their sound recordings are performed on cable, Internet (non-interactive streaming) and satellite radio.

SoundExchange is an independent nonprofit performance rights organization that currently represents over 800 record companies, their 3000+ labels and thousands of artists united in receiving a fair price for the licensing of their music in a new digital world. Members include both signed and unsigned recording artists and small, medium and large independent record companies, as well as the major label groups and artist-owned labels. For membership information and a step-by-step guide on how to join, please go to http://soundexchange.com/

Sound Exchange
1330 Connecticut Avenue, Northwest Suite 330
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 828-0120; fax: (202) 833-2141

The ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) is the international identification system for sound recordings and music video recordings. Each ISRC is a unique and permanent identifier for a specific recording which can be permanently encoded into a product as its digital fingerprint. Encoded ISRC provide the means to automatically identify recordings for royalty payments.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) recommends that all music producers use ISRC. The ISRC system is the key to royalty collection for recordings in the digital information age.

ISRC can be put into operation without requiring special investment in equipment or technologies. For further information about the ISRC system, please contact:

RIAA
1025 F Street NW, 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20004
(202) 775-0101, Fax: (202) 775-7253
isrc [at] riaa.com
Point of contact: Erik Liederbach

 Trademarks

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) is the federal office that grants trademarks (such as to band names, instrument names, company names, etc.). A trademark protects a name, a design or a logo for goods and services.

To register a nationwide trademark, download an application from the PTO website at http://uspto.gov. You can also order an application from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by calling (703) 308-9000 or (800) 786-9199. Ask for their brochure entitled, Basic Facts About Registering a Trademark. The brochure includes the application forms and all the necessary information on registering your service mark and/or trademark. The application must include: a drawing of the word or symbol being trademarked; three examples of its use (such as newspaper clippings or a press release); the completed application form; a self-addressed stamped envelope for return receipt of your serial number; and the $375 fee.

You can now research whether or not your band/company name is available to be trademarked by accessing TESS, the Trademark Electronic Search System.

The Texas trademark procedure mirrors the federal process, except that you may not register a Texas trademark until you have actually used the mark in business, and the fee is $50. To order the application forms for Texas trademark registration, contact the Secretary of State at (512) 463-5576 or (800) 735-2989, or download the forms from the office website at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/corp/trademark.shtml.

Note: While you are waiting for approval of your mark, document your use of the band’s name through club listings, advertising, and any other evidence of your usage. Keeping a record will help you establish your rights in the name prior to official registration.

You can search federally registered trademarks at the following Patent and Trademark Depository libraries (searches must be done in person; this system does not include state, international or unregistered marks):
University of Texas at Austin, McKinney Engineering Library 512-495-4511
Texas A&M University, Evans Library, College Station 979-845-5741
Dallas Public Library, Central Branch, 214-670-1468
Texas Tech University Library, Lubbock 806-742-2282
Rice University, Fondren Library, Houston 713-348-5483

Filing An Assumed Name

You may file a request to receive an Assumed Name Certificate (also referred to as filing a DBA, i.e., Doing Business As) at any one of the 254 county courthouses in Texas. To apply, contact the County Clerk’s office in the county in which you maintain an office. If your business does not have an office, then you must file a DBA in every county in which you do business.

Filing Articles of Incorporation

The Texas Office of the Secretary of State is the agency which grants charters for the following types of business entities: Corporations, professional associations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, registered limited liability partnerships, non-profit corporations, and assumed names for those entities. The Secretary of State also registers state trademarks and service marks.

For more information, contact:
Office of the Secretary of State
Statutory Filings Division
P.O. Box 13697, Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-5555

Obtaining Universal Product Codes (UPC)

Applications for a Universal Product Code (also called Bar Codes) are obtained through contacting
GS1 US
7887 Washington Village Drive, Suite 300, Dayton, OH 45459
(937) 435-3870; fax (937) 435-7317.

The fee is determined by the number of unique products a company needs to identify and as well as gross sales revenue. The Council assigns only the first six digits of your UPC; applicants are responsible for assigning the remaining five digits, and for having their bar codes printed.

 
 

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BMI Unsigned Urban Showcase: Atlanta
Warner Bros. Records rapper Curren$y will headline BMI’s 15th Annual Unsigned Urban Showcase, being held at Terminal West (887 West Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA). G.O.O.D. Music’s Teyana Taylor will co-host the event alongside BMI Director, Writer/Publisher Relations Byron Wright. Doors open at 8 p.m.; the show begins at 9 p.m.

Aspiring artists from all urban genres, including r&b, rap and hip-hop, applied for the opportunity to perform at this lauded, star-spotting annual showcase. Four finalists were selected to compete in front of a panel of music industry heavyweights, including top executives, artists, producers, managers and attorneys.

Open to the public; attendees must be at least 18 years of age with valid identification. Tickets are $20 and are available for purchase by clicking here.

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Los Angeles
Acoustic Lounge
An acoustic evening featuring four singer/songwriters “in-the-round,” Acoustic Lounge offers intimate snapshots of promising up-and-comers. Attended by members of the Southern California songwriter community and industry decision-makers alike, the free showcase is held the first Monday of every month from 7 to 8 p.m. at Genghis Cohen (740 N. Fairfax Ave. LA, CA 90046).

Pick of the Month
BMI’s Pick of the Month is a monthly showcase highlighting a fierce new band or solo artist. Designed to elevate performers already poised for breakthroughs, the series further introduces auspicious up-and-comers to both the industry and general public in a top-tier Los Angeles venue for discounted admission. Past BMI “Picks” include Lady Gaga, Macy Gray, The Feeling and Counting Crows.

Nashville
8 Off 8th
BMI and Yuengling Beer proudly present 8 off 8th, a free weekly showcase held 9 p.m. every Monday at Nashville music venue Mercy Lounge (1 Cannery Row off 8th Avenue South). Hosted by a rotating lineup of music community impresarios, each night features eight local (and sometimes nationally touring) artists and serves as ground zero for Nashville’s indie rock scene. Whether it’s launching fledging acts fresh out of the garage or showcasing the latest buzz bands, 8 off 8th’s rapid-fire three-song sets satisfy audiences chasing the next big thing.

BMI Presents at 12th & Porter
BMI Presents at 12th & Porter spotlights the lifeblood of the Nashville music community: songwriters. Tapped by BMI in recognition of their current potency or potential, the artists featured reflect the diverse hive of creators impacting today’s country charts and the evolving Music Row hit-making paradigm. The 6 p.m. show is free and held every other month at 12th & Porter (114 12th Avenue North).

BMI Buzz at the Basement
BMI Buzz at the Basement features hand-picked selections of young and hungry singer-songwriters worthy of a closer listen. The series revolves around four quarterly installments. Each show kicks off at 6 p.m., with appetite-wetting three-song sets from four consecutive up-and-comers ready for the mainstream. Shows are staged at Nashville trendometer venue the Basement (1604 8th Avenue South).

East Side Sounds
BMI’s East Side Sounds digs into and shows off Music City’s famously vibrant other side across the river. Staged at Rumours East (1112 Woodland St), the free quarterly showcase profiles independent artists whose freewheeling approaches to music-making are resulting in film and television placements, AAA and pop chart-climbing, and slots on critically acclaimed albums both inside and outside of the mainstream.

New York
Pick of the Month
BMI’s Pick of the Month is a monthly showcase highlighting a fierce new band or solo artist. Designed to elevate performers already poised for breakthroughs, the series further introduces auspicious up-and-comers to both the industry and general public in a top-tier New York City venue for discounted admission. Past BMI “Picks” include Lady Gaga, Macy Gray, The Feeling and Counting Crows.

And more…

BMI’s layered approach to songwriter development comprises educational, creative and promotional opportunities, including workshops, showcase series, and stages and slots at other festivals including Lollapalooza, South By Southwest, the French Quarter Festival, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, the Key West Songwriters Festival, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Sundance, Folk Alliance, MOBfest, AthFest, Florida Music Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Songwriters Festival, Sandestin Music Festival, Atlantis Music Conference, and more.

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The easiest way to join ASCAP or BMI is by visiting their respective websites. The entire application process can be handled online – this is true for both songwriters who want to join and for publishers who want to join. ASCAP has a one time fee of $35.00 and BMI is free to songwriters. Collecting societies collect royalty payments from users of copyrighted works and distribute royalties to copyright owners.

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PRO History 101 

The first performing rights society was established in France in 1851. In the United Kingdom, the Copyright Act 1842 was the first to protect musical compositions with the Performing Right Society, founded in 1914 encompassing live performances. The rights for recorded or broadcast performance are administered by the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society, founded in 1924. Italy introduced a performing rights society in 1882 and Germany in 1915. In the United States, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded in 1914; Society of European Stage Authors & Composers (SESAC) in 1930 and Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) in 1939. Sociedad Puertorriqueña de Autores y Compositores de Musica (SPACEM) was founded in San Juan Puertorrico in 1953. SPACEM name was changed to ACEMLA, or Asociacion de Compositoes y Editores de Musica and remains today PRO No. 76 in the Cisacs roster of performing rights society.

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SoundExchange goes hand in hand with both ASCAP and BMI. Where as you can only be a member with one PRO, SoundExchange goes with either, or. It is a vital nessesity in receiving your royalties.

SoundExchange is a non-profit performance rights organization that collects statutory royalties from satellite radio (such as SIRIUS XM), Internet radio (like Pandora), cable TV music channels and similar platforms for streaming sound recordings. The Copyright Royalty Board, which is appointed by The U.S. Library of Congress, has entrusted SoundExchange as the sole entity in the United States to collect and distribute these digital performance royalties on behalf of featured and non-featured recording artists, master rights owners (usually record labels), and independent artists who record and own their masters.